Denmark’s Brøchner Hotels has converted an electrical transformer station in central Copenhagen into the edgy Hotel Herman K, the first five-star property for the boutique hotelier.
Although serving a utilitarian purpose the station, designed by Hans Christian Hansen in 1963, has a raw brutalist charm that’s been retained in the 31-room hotel following its adaptive reuse. The concrete building’s heritage-protected exterior facade has a grid of horizontal metal blades while inside cast concrete is left exposed along with concrete floors and original terrazzo stairs.
The hotel entrance opens into a dramatic 12-metre-high central space framed by two steel doors that previously divided the station into three cavernous zones. The two adjacent spaces now accommodate rooms, smaller bars and the restaurant.
‘We wanted to keep the story, and the story is that the building was built for machines so we transformed it into a place where people can actually live and breathe,’ says general manager Lise Egenius. She ran Brøchner’s award-winning Hotel SP34, a favourite with the fashion and design set since opening in 2014.
Egenius says opening a five-star hotel is a big step up for the privately owned group but it remains true to their homey style. ‘It’s our interpretation of being a five star so we don’t have a doorman, I will open the door and we connect with guests instead of keeping a distance.’
The hotel is named after Herman A Kähler (1846-1917), a renowned ceramicist whose Kähler Design is still operating and supplied custom-made ceramic bathroom sinks. Standard rooms – which start from DKK 3,700 – are designed like a first-class aeroplane suite with a headboard control panel. At the other end of the scale, the two-storey penthouse suite (approximately DKK 15,000 a night) has a 40 sqm private roof terrace.
In keeping with its high-end ambitions, the hotel enlisted the two-Michelin-starred Kadeau to run the bistro-style Roxie restaurant. On the upper lever, there’s a tranquil courtyard framed by painted brick walls – a characteristic of the neighbouring buildings.